Wednesday, May 22, 2013

2-4-1, Part One - St. Anthony's Olympic Distance Triathlon

Who doesn’t like two-fers?  Well, because I’ve been slacking, I will be posting 2 race reviews.  But, just like a good bar/restaurant that will wait to serve you your second drink until after you’ve finished your first, I will post the race reviews separately so you can enjoy them each when you're ready.    
The first race review will be St. Anthony's Olympic Distance Tri.  The next review will be Haines City 70.3. 
I enjoyed St. Anthony’s.  I saw a lot of friends, the course was good, it was close by, it was in a nice venue, and I had a good race which I think adds brownie points to any race, no matter how bad everything else was. 
Because of the events in Boston, the race directors decided to make it mandatory to bring your bike into Transition the day prior.  Not really a big deal since you have to go to the race site to pick up your packet the day before anyway and the Transition area was near there.  But, it’s always a little scary leaving your most expensive piece of equipment out in the open overnight.  I carpooled the day before to Vinoy Park to get my race packet and drop off my bike along with whatever other gear I wanted to leave.  I ended up leaving my shoes (bike and run), sun glasses, socks, and visor.  My aero helmet was too big to fit in the bag they gave us so I took it with me.  On the way back home we made a pit stop at a smoothie shop off of Gandy Blvd. (Point Break VIP ???  I can’t remember) and had a PB&J smoothie.  It was good and tied me over until dinner.  There was a pool party going on so of course there was a ton of delicious, off-limits foods that I couldn’t eat.  I ended up having a couple pieces of smoked ribs and baked mac and cheese.  I wouldn’t recommend that as a pre-race meal, but it was good and didn’t upset my stomach that night or the next day. 
4:00 AM race day: Rise and Shine!
Well, sort of.  That’s just so flippin’ early.  But, when you have to get to the race site and get your transition set up before 6:30 AM you really don’t have much of a choice.  For breakfast, I had a bowl of peanut butter cheerios and So Delicious Almond Plus Milk.  About 45 minutes before my wave start  had a Honey Stinger Waffle.  Starting about 30 minutes before my wave I began sipping my Gatorade and NO-Xplode mix.  I used the bathroom 3 times before starting the race.  And, of course, I still had to pee again just before the swim started.  Thankfully it was an in-water swim so I was able to go while we were getting to our starting positions.  I decided to wear my Kona Multisport tri kit.  The shorts are comfortable but I've gained some weight and by the end of the race the waist part was digging into my skin so bad it hurt.  I couldn't wait to take the shorts off.  Other race attire (in no particular order):
  • run shoes - Kswiss Kwicky Blade Light
  • sports bra - Nike dri-fit compression
  • race belt - Fitness
  • goggles - TYR Special Ops (I <3 these goggles).  I bought a clear pair for training and use my multi-colored ones for races 
  • bike shoes - LG tri-lite - these are awesome bike shoes and they're actually reasonably priced compared to other carbon bike shoes
Swim – 14:05, 11th a/g
The swim was wetsuit legal but just barely.  I opted to not wear my wetsuit because with a .9 mile swim, the minutes you save in the water are the same amount or less that you lose by trying to take off the darn thing.  There are no strippers (wetsuit strippers, focus…) so it makes it a pain trying to get it off quickly.  Turns out anyway that the swim was shortened for the age groups to .5 miles because the water was too rough after a certain point in the swim where you get more out in the open water.  The run to transition was longer as a consequence.  It wasn't too bad though because it was on the sidewalk and it was smooth.  I had a pretty good rhythm in the swim and finished satisfactorily.  I have been working on my speed in the water and it has definitely paid off.  I’m not an Olympic swimmer or anything, but at least I’m closer to the front of the pack now.  As I was running to T1, I saw a couple of different friends, Dene and Anna at one point, and Mike at another, and their cheering made me happy.  I love seeing people during a race that I know.  It always helps me relax and if I’m hurting I forget that I’m hurting and push harder.  Mike also got an awesome shot as I was running by.  This is only the 2nd picture of me coming out of the water that I like.

T1 – 5:09
Bike – 1:09:20, 2nd a/g
When I got on the bike my legs were so tired.  I thought immediately that this was going to be a long race.  The bike course turns you around a lot so you’re never directly with or against the wind for too long.  I enjoyed the bike course even though there were more turns than I ideally would like.  But, it was flat, it was only one loop, and I was pleasantly surprised when I came to an aid station.  I guess I wouldn’t have been surprised if I read the athlete guide, but I’ve been known for not always reading the directions :).  I don’t know if it’s just being lazy or if I like the idea of being surprised and taking the course as it comes.  All I had on my bike was my water bottle and a Gu gel.  As I was coming to the bike finish, I saw my friends Dene and Anna who were also cheering at the swim exit.  Again, it boosted my energy.  Love it!  I have learned to come out of my shoes while still on the bike so I can run barefoot to T2.  I need to learn how to mount my bike with the shoes already clipped in. 
T2 – 1:19

Run – 46:37, 3rd a/g
I wore socks on the bike and run and they got super dirty running through the dirt and grass into the Transition area off the bike.  Thankfully it didn’t cause any hot spots on my feet.  I forgot my Gu gel for the run and ended up having to rely on whatever was supplied on the course.  Unfortunately it didn’t include any gels… booo.  I like biking with my sunglasses and running with just my visor.  But, I was in such a hurry that I forgot to take off my sunglasses in T2.  I was half way through T2 when I realized I still had my sunglasses on and I had forgotten my gu.  I was tempted to turn back but decided against it.  Good thing too because I beat the girl in my a/g that came in behind me by 12 seconds!  The run was flat, except for a tiny overpass bridge that you have to climb over twice.  There was very little shade.  But, the run goes through a pretty ritzy area in St. Petersburg and it’s fun when the neighborhood residents come out and participate in the fun by spraying water from hoses on you or helping out with handing out water at non-official aid stations.  I don’t do well in the heat, but I was amazingly able to keep well under an 8:00 min/mi pace.  I was very happy when I finished.  Along the last 100 yards or so, I saw Dene and Anna again, and even better was seeing my Mom and Dad at the finish line.  I got to slap hands with my Dad and got a nice photo finish with this huge smile on my face. 

Overall – 2:16:27, 2nd in a/g   
Post race thoughts:
I did like this course a lot.  I think I will do it again next year.  I qualified for the 5150 Hy-Vee Championship in September but this year September is just crazy.  I’m doing the Women Rock Marathon the weekend before and the Wednesday after the Championship is a soccer game that Daniel and I are planning to  go to in Ohio.  So, I am sadly declining the invitation to go this year in hopes that I will get another chance next year. 

My mom and me

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